Smoked Spiral Ham
If you want to free up space in the kitchen and oven over the holidays or want a special meat that isn’t really hard to cook, then try smoking a spiral cut ham. Spiral cut hams are pre-cooked, so you’re really just heating the meat. By doing the heating outside over coals or wood chips, you get an extra smoked flavor that makes this easy meat dish more than just a novelty. It’s really great, and no one will know it was an easy main meat dish.
If you’re not familiar with spiral cut hams, then check the meat section and look for the big hams. You’ll see that some are labeled spiral cut. They are cooked through and are cut with the unique spiral designs. It’s a bit hard to see the cuts as the meat is usually packed tight with the cuts not so obvious.
Some spiral cut hams are in natural juices and some water based. The ones with natural juices are better though cost more. Just look for “natural juices” on the label.
Cooking a Spiral Ham Outdoors
It’s a lot easier to heat a spiral ham with a smoker, but you can also make one with a kettle grill or even a gas grill with the lid closed.
With a smoker, just follow the directions and use coals and wood chips to get the smoker going. You want to aim for around 225 degrees F which is a pretty low temperature.
With a charcoal grill, start the coals and let them cook down so that they’re gray colored. Push the coals around to the sides. You want the center to be not so hot so that the meat is getting indirect heat. Don’t overload on coals. You want a low temperature just as you have with the smoker.
If you’re going with gas, then heat to low. If you have two elements, then heat one to low and leave the other one off. The ham goes on the side where the element is turned off.
Slap the Ham on the Heat
No matter what way you go with the heating, you get the heat going low and then add the spiral ham. But, don’t just throw it on. You want a throw away pan or tin foil under the ham. Otherwise, it drips and causes the fire to get hot and also makes a mess in the smoker or grill.
Put the ham on to smoke and use the lid on the smoker or grill. This is not flash cooking where you cook fast and pull the meat off.
Baste While Cooking
If you have the heat right, it takes about 3 hours to get the ham up to 120 degrees. It does not have to be higher than that, because you’re not really cooking the meat. You’re just getting it good and hot and adding the outdoor flavor burst.
You’ll want to baste the ham every half hour or so to keep it moist and to give it extra flavor. You can just lather on some apple juice for the baste. You may want to add some whiskey to the apple juice. Jack Daniels is good. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to overpower the meat. A tsp up to a TBS of whiskey per cup of apple juice works well.
Glaze if You Want
If you like glaze on the ham, then rub that over the meat during the last 20 minutes or so. Use your favorite glaze recipe or look up ham glaze recipes. There are loads of them around. Glazes with maple syrup or honey are especially good.
Here is a really basic honey glaze:
1 cup honey
½ cup orange juice
Wrap it Up and Kick Back
Wrap the spiral ham tightly in tin foil. It will stay warm for quite a while and the flavors will sink in. I put the ham on the back of the stove where the heat keeps it good and warm.